mirowski_200_170_s_c1Twenty years ago Phil Mirowski was invited to give a speech on themes from his book More Heat than Light at my old economics department in Lund, Sweden. All the mainstream professors were there. Their theories were totally mangled and no one — absolutely no one — had anything to say even remotely reminiscent of a defence. Being at a nonplus, one of them, in total desperation, finally asked: “But what shall we do then?”

Yes indeed — what shall they do? Because, sure, they have to do something. Or?

briggsNot all fallacies are what they seem … To avoid fallacy, we always must take the information or evidence supplied as given and concrete, as sacrosanct, even, just as we do in any mathematical problem … Perhaps the worst fallacy is the We-Have-To-Do-Something fallacy. Interest centers around some proposition Y, about which little is known. The suggestion will arise that some inferior, or itself fallacious, method be used to judge Y because action on Y must take place. The inferiority of fallaciousness of the method used to judge Y will then be forgotten. You may think that is rare. It isn’t.